Two new United Methodist missionaries from different parts of the world will lend their talents to the education of lay and clergy leadership in southern Africa.
Hesed Soriano Lim, a social worker from the Philippines, and the Rev. Wesley Magruder, a pastor from Texas, are slated for the teaching staff of Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary in Pietermaritzburg, Kwazulu/Natal, South Africa. They join the “everywhere to everywhere” community of United Methodist missionaries. Seth Mokitimi Seminary serves Methodism across a broad swath of southern Africa.
The two were among eight new missionaries celebrated at a May 15 service of blessing as they completed their orientation and training through the General Board of Global Ministries, headquartered in Atlanta. The eight will be formally commissioned (that is, “sent”) by the church at annual (regional) United Methodist conferences in late May and June.
The other six in the new missionary class will serve in El Salvador, Mongolia, Portugal and the United States in pastoral, educational, health and Hispanic/Latino ministries.
The heart of the service of blessing was the washing of the new missionaries’ feet by staff executives of Global Ministries, symbolic of Jesus’ washing of disciples’ feet in in the Gospel of John (13:1-17). The washing represents acceptance into the ministry of Jesus and a pattern of humble servanthood. “You must wash each other’s feet,” Jesus tells his group of followers.
Hesed Soriano Lim comes from a long line of Methodists in the Philippines and will work at Seth Mokitimi Seminary in practical ministry, including pastoral care. Her husband, Rogelio, and their young daughter, Kyria, will join her in South Africa. She will be commissioned by the California-Nevada Annual Conference.
The Rev. Wesley Magruder will be a lecturer in theology at Seth Mokitimi and will be accompanied by his wife Leah. His home conference, where he will be commissioned, is North Texas. The Magruders were formerly missionaries in Cameroon.
Other new missionaries include:
Chun H (Grace) Cho will serve as coordinator of Christian education with the United Methodist Mission in Mongolia, based in Ulaanbaatar, where her husband, Chin Cho (James), is the country coordinator of the Mongolia Mission. She will be commissioned at the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference, her home conference.
The Rev. Patricia Regina Moreira Marques, a clergy member of the Methodist Church of Brazil, will serve as a pastor of congregations of the Evangelical Methodist Church of Portugal in the city of Porto. She will be commissioned at the 2019 session of the New England Annual Conference.
Cristian Mauricio Schlick Saldia, originally from Chile and a member of the Methodist Church of Chile, will work with migrants in Central America, based in El Salvador. He will be commissioned by the California-Pacific Annual Conference.
Bernadine Sophie Smith, the new coordinator of the Global Ministries’ Missionary Wellness Program, based in the U.S., will be commissioned by the North Carolina Annual Conference.
Luis Mauricio Velasquez, serving in the Office of Congregational Development, Hispanic/Latino Ministry, Wisconsin Annual Conference, will be commissioned by the North Georgia Conference, where he attended seminary at Candler School of Theology.
The Rev. Carlos Samuel Reyes Rodríguez, born in Colombia and a long-time U.S. resident, will serve as coordinator of Hispanic/Latino ministry in the Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference, where he will be commissioned.
The Rev. Dr. Judy Y. Chung, Global Ministries’ executive director of Missionary Services, presided at the service of blessing, which consisted of prayers, hymns, Scripture recitation and a reading on God’s call to mission service.
Wright is the information consultant for Global Ministries.